Even though their stories are this impressive, I often struggled to find the motivation to keep reading This has nothing to do with Gregory s talent as a writer and everything with the tiring wars and battles that divided the country and lost my interest for the book It s historical fiction These battles and fights, these long rides through the country and on the sea really happened and it wouldn t make any sense if they didn t show up in this book But what I m interested in is life at court, the schemes and games they played, the legends and stories that may or may not be true.
There is something else that slowed my progress on this book the fact that I knew the outcome I knew people would die, plots wouldn t work out, wishes would stay unfulfilled I m trying to be vague to avoid spoilers No matter how much I rooted for the main character to succeed, history taught me better.
In a nutshell a fascinating read about a remarkable woman who managed to become the most powerful woman in the country, even though all the odds were against her.
Findof my books on Instagram Philippa Gregory s latest historical fiction release is, to put it mildly, absolutely amazing I think this is one of her better books on par with The Other Boleyn Girl The scope of The White Queen is just as if notepic, in terms of literary drama, than the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn at the hand of King Henry VIII It focuses on The War of the Roses, a bloody war of politics and rival family members pitted against each other as the Yorks and Lancasters fought to become the next ruling family of England.
I didn t know much about this time in England s history except that the Tudors, as part of the House of Lancaster, are the winners and the symbol of Henry VII s unification of the two houses is the Tudor Rose Of course, since it s a war of cousins, as soon as I began reading, I had a hard time keeping track of this huge family and found a really handy family tree on Wikipedia made specifically for following the lineage and contributing royals to this war Even with that, it s hard to keep track of three generations of names like Richard, Edward, and George But I think I did fine The White Queen is told through the voice of Elizabeth Woodville, a widow of the House of Lancaster with two sons left fatherless from the war with the Yorks She finds herself in the middle of her mother s plotting and is soon exerting her ambitions on the upstart York King Edward IV Gregory imagines theirs being a true romance, despite Edward s kingly indulgence of other women she manages to make Edward and Elizabeth s relationship seem much deeper than political ambition They are married in secret an act which eventually comes back to haunt them and puts their positions in danger Rumors and scandals spread by rivals even Edward s own brother threaten to overturn Elizabeth s good luck and the safety of her large family of heirs.
Among the accusations is a cry of witchcraft at the hand of her mother, Jacquetta, who believes herself to be a descendant of Melusina, the mythic influence of The Little Mermaid fairy tale Wielding strange beliefs in the power of her little spells and enchantments, the inclusion of this in the text adds an elusive and magical femininity to The White Queen and like Philippa Gregory s other books, both confirms and denies age old questions of the wickedness once believed to be punishable only by drowning or burning It s just as easy to believe in the childhood mysteries and superstitions drawn out into her burgeoning womanhood as it is to think Elizabeth s successes and failures are the result of her and her mother s ambitious and well thought out machinations.
If I read correctly, there are also references to stories of Cinderella and real life influences for the myth of Robin Hood Belief in fairy tales or not, they add an ambiance and counter the surprisingly bloody and graphic battle scenes Gregory writes with the confidence of a writer who s been doing it her whole life I ve read eight of her books in none of them do I remember ever reading the specifics on combat That she does venture bravely into that arena emphasizes the extend of the war fueled by the political ambitions of the York and Lancaster families If she hadn t, I don t think I would have understood the gravity, the severity, or the consequence of the war as much I m grateful and impressed Gregory has definitely gone up a notch in my book She reenforces her existing mastery of writing scandal, intrigue, romance, and the political maneuvering and flirtations of the court But she also shows off skills I never knew she had the darker side of Gregory s writing is just as inviting as it is graphic.
I think it s this addition to the book and the almost magical realism of the Rivers family and the storms they wield that make this a really spectacular first part in a trilogy The Cousins War that will include two other titles The Red Queen and The White Princess Of course, Philippa Gregory s mastery over English history and phenomenal research makes for spell binding historical fictions when combined with her superb storytelling and attention to the type of detail that adds veracity and momentum to every one of her books.
It helps that she wrote about such a tumultuous and dramatic time in English history ripe for literary exploration With the way she approaches her subjects and writes, I think Philippa Gregory could make almost any period in history sound scrumptious That being said, the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower was an event way outside of my bubble of knowledge I admit, I cheated and Googled the phrase to learn what about their fate has become so profound After reading the book, I m tickled to learn that Gregory has intertwined their fictitious fate with that of Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl who blames Anne Boleyn for his impotence and her inability to produce a healthy heir I had to laugh as I read the curses of Elizabeth and her daughter After all, Henry VIII, if Elizabeth s magic is to be believed, has the right to place the blame on his troubles elsewhere he s just blamed the wrong woman is all In any event, I completely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and anyone interested in reading a riveting story of love, jealousy, and vengeance And I absolutely recommend this to Philippa Gregory fans She s reinvented herself in this one, I think and proves she can use fairy tales, romance, and gore in the same book and make it all completely plausible I can t say enough how much I loved this book You should go pre order it right now Right now.
Brother Turns On Brother The Throne Of England Is At Stake The Deadly Wars Of The Roses Have Begun They Ruled England Before The Tudors, And Now Internationally Bestselling Author Philippa Gregory Brings The Plantagenets To Life Through The Dramatic And Intimate Stories Of The Secret Players The Indomitable Women Elizabeth Woodville, A Woman Of Extraordinary Beauty And Ambition, Secretly Marries The Newly Crowned Boy King While She Rises To The Demands Of Her Exalted Position And Fights For The Success Of Her Family, Her Two Sons Become The Central Figures In A Famous Unsolved Mystery That Has Confounded Historians For Centuries The Lost Princes In The Tower Of London Philippa Gregory Brings The Artistry And Intellect Of A Master Writer And Storyteller To A New Era In History And Begins What Is Sure To Be Another Bestselling Classic Series Excellent follow up And I do love this family Good storytelling especially with the connections to the first book and the subsequent ones You see the other side of the story which is a sign of a good storyteller Nice one, Ms Gregory Plus there s the secret of the two princes locked in the tower Did Richard do it The language is beautiful I just love reading these re creations, imagining the beauty and the glow of the language, the scenes and the words If you love history, and you re OK with some fiction interspersed, you ve got a winner hereAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators.
Here is a thought that has probably never occurred to anyone while reading a Philippa Gregory novel You know what this book needs More politics Gregory is best known for her fictionalized tales about the lives of the Kings and Queens of England, most famously The Other Boleyn Girl This is a genre I like to call Historical Harlequin, whereby there may be some actual fact but it is mostly sappy, glorified romance in what was probably just a time periodmiserable than the 90 s She turns fat homicidal maniacs into heartthrobs i.
, Henry VIII and sad female pawns into beautiful heroines i.
e, every woman in her novels Has anyone seen 16th century portraits No one was beautiful They were all marrying their cousins Gregory usually does this with remarkable skill, and her compelling, provocative novels always end up on the bestseller list They are a tasty guilty pleasure, kind of like Twilight s older, brainier cousin Her newest novel, The White Queen, appeared to no one s surprise on the bestseller list almost immediately The surprise is in how terribly boring this one is Gregory has abandoned the Tudor dynasty and gone back in time to the Plantagenets, a seemingly psychotic clan who should have been easy to write exciting literature about Two families, the Lancasters and the Yorks, struggled for the throne for generations The ruthless, brother on brother violence and endless battling is now known as The War of the Roses, since supporters wore colored roses to represent their favorite team, so to speak Prior to reading this novel, I just thought The War of the Roses was an 80 s movie starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas So at least I learned something and it wasn t a total waste of time.
The story follows Elizabeth Woodville She begins the book as a poor young widow and mother of two whose husband died in battle against the Yorks Then, for inexplicable and icky reasons, she falls in love with the victor King Edward, who is essentially responsible for her husband s death No matter They marry in secret, and after an interminable number of pages, she eventually is declared Queen This makes her happy for reasons completely unclear to anyone sane, especially considering that the chief pastime of royals in this time period was to cut off one another s heads As usual, Gregory navigates a hefty chunk of time and history in this case, 20 years in relatively little space The problem is that she misjudges the things that her audience might actually be interested in The Other Boleyn Girl, her best and most famous novel, did not bother the reader with the details of Henry s political life beyond how it affected his love life The White Queen reads, at times, like a Eurpoean History textbook It is crammed with names, dates, and battles Hello Girls read your books, Philippa Give us some love scenes The steamier, the better But when she s not writing like a stuffy historian, she s writing sentiments that belong in N Sync songs He will never understand what happened that day between a young man and a young woman There was magic and the name of it was love Yikes.
It s next to impossible to keep track of who anyone is Everyone is named Richard, Edward, and Elizabeth Elizabeth names her own daughter Elizabeth, and both her husband and son are named Edward She has two sons named Richard That s just lazy The king s brothers are Richard and George, and Elizabeth has sons named you guessed it Richard and George And it s not just her family It seems that there were only ten names total to choose from in the 16th century, and Gregory introduces us to about 700 characters all with the same ten names It s like watching The Hills, where everyone is equally blonde and equally stupid and you have no idea what s happening or why There is one bright spot Women are always getting their heads chopped off in Gregory s books because they re accused of being witches an accusation that rings ridiculous in modern ears In this book, Gregory decides to make the Queen actually guilty of witchcraft, not just accused of it She and her mother have powers they cast spells, call up storms, tell the future, etc This choice, according to the Author s Note at the end, stems from actual historical record that the Queen believed herself to be descended from a water goddess Weird, yes Boring, no.
The rest is par for the course The men all come across as paranoid, power hungry finger pointers and philanderers, while the women are all strong, smart, beautiful, and blameless There is a word for woman hating misogyny Whatever the word is for man hating, I think Philippa Gregory is guilty of it Poor guys Apparently not a single nice one existed in all of England for the better part of 200 years The only good ones get killed off in battle or in unjust head removal procedures She may need to work out some of these issues in therapy.
The White Queen is billed as the first in a series of books about the Plantagenets, and the ending, indeed, has a Lord of the Rings lack of finality to it that isthan a little frustrating It s hard not to hope that she gets her head chopped off in the next one so we can start fresh.
For some far better Historical Harlequin reads, I recommend the following The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory but you ve read that already Everyone has The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson Do not waste your time on the Marie Antoinette book by this same author Terrible The Red Tent by Anita Diamant Biblical Harlequin finally If you like this article, click here to readAlso select subscribe to email to receive free email updates when I post a new review.
Readreviews at 2013 update It s been three years since I wrote this review Just read the book again and my opinion remains the same I have a confession to make I ve been known to read trashy books Now, this isn t something that I like to shout from the rooftops, but if you spent your days reading Chaucer, you would unwind with something less cerebral too I ve done the romance novel thing, but the formula becomes grating after a while So, my most turned to brainless literature is mediocre historical fiction.
I don t think Philippa Gregory stared out as a mediocre artist Her break out novel,The Other Boleyn Girl , was pretty gripping and presented a side of that worn out Tudor saga that I hadn t heard before Unfortunately, her work has started to go down a long, dull hill She s now turning her attention to the final years of the Plantagenet reign over English withThe White Queen The White Queenfollows the rise of Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner widow, who captures the eye of the young King Edward IV and rises to be the queen of the penultimate reign of a Plantagenet monarch This period of time has been much discussed by artists and historians as an era of greed and blood Many a historian has portrayed Edward IV s queen as the head of a family of grasping bloodsuckers who wormed their way into the highest positions in the kingdom, much like the Boleyns a few generations later Shakespeare even dedicated his pen to a play based on the periodRichard IIIThere s an incredible amount to tell and so many points of view to take in.
Unfortunately, Gregory decides to take the least believable route Inspired by the whispers of witchcraft that surrounded the Woodville family which was supposedly descended from a water goddess , Gregory portrays Elizabeth Woodville, her mother, and daughter Elizabeth later Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII as practitioners of wizardry What made Edward fall for Elizabeth A ring tied to a string What made a boat carrying important dignitaries toss violently over the sea A storm called up by witches breath What withers Richard III s sword arm and cripples his health A curse and a locket Really, Philippa, really I think her choice in plot devices shows an author taking the easy way out Elizabeth Woodville, whether you liked her or not, was a force to be reckoned with She defied an ordained king by claiming sanctuary for herself and her children in a basement She suffered through accusations that her husband had been a bastard, sired by a lowly English bowman She climbed to the highest position in the land and hung there through some of the greatest storms in English royal history And Gregory credits it to witchcraft Ugh.
Seriously, if you find this era interesting, pick up Sharon Kay Penman sThe Sunne in Splendour , a hefty novel that relies on history and the strength of the characters Gregory would indeed need witchcraft to reach her standard of work Sadly, I m probably going to end up reading Gregory s next book, which will be a depiction of the same events, just from the point of view of Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry Tudor I will grit my teeth in irritation, then maybe through my Kindle in the trash, but I will read it shamefaced Why am I so weak The White Queen is the fictional story of the life of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV Philippa Gregory does her usual fine job of bringing her characters to life and making it enjoyable to read I don t know how accurate her stories are, or any other writer in this genre for that matter I was introduced to royal historical fiction by Norah Lofts and have also read Alison Weir and Jean Plaidy, among others In this book Gregory focuses on the Plantagenet s and The Cousins War period, also known as The Wars of the Roses, which preceded the Tudor Period It s interesting reading about these royals, at least for me Readers who like this category will probably like this book On a side note, the mini series on cable television did a good job of following the book A good production.
4,5 SterneHat mir sogar noch besser gefallen als Die Mutter der K nigin , an welches dieses Buch direkt anschlie t Die Charaktere waren gr tenteils auch schon aus dem ersten Buch bekannt, also macht es durchaus Sinn die B cher in der richtigen Reihenfolge zu lesen, auch wenn die B cher in sich relativ abgeschlossen sind von der Handlung Zeitepoche Die abgehandelte Zeitspanne ist wieder recht gro , man erlebt quasi das ganze Leben der Protagonisten mit Dabei entsteht ein gutes Tempo in der Geschichte und es wird nie langweilig F r mich ist das ganze eh immer spannend, da ich mich in der englischen Geschichte null Komma gar nicht auskenne Trotzdem merkt man, dass Philippa Gregory super gut f r ihre B cher recherchiert und das ganze dann nett verpackt f r den Leser.
Das einzige Manko an diesem Buch f r mich waren ziemlich viele Wiederholungen von gewissen Phrasen und Geschehnissen
This was my first Philippa Gregory novel, and it was such an excellent introduction to the author and genre It actually inspired me to readhistorical fiction by a variety of writers I like Gregory s style because the history, and intensity, is not sacrificed by the romance in the plot Indeed, the romance is a mere element of the story, and not the story itself So, now, many years later, I m glad I picked this book up I like Gregory s Elizabeth she has such sharp claws A woman who knows what she wants Philippa is a master at getting into the mind of these historical figures she takes the events and narrates them from the perspective of how the said character may have perceived them Elizabeth Woodville is many things she is a courageous woman and a loyal wife she is ambitious and deadly she is strong and ruthless To some she is even considered a witch but, firstly, and undeniably, she is a concerned mother This worriment over the fate of her children is exactly what makes her queen of England her concern drives her to seek protection under the banner of YorkTo save my son, I would plot with the devil himself Her first husband has died fighting for the red rose he has died under the banner of Lancaster So, Elizabeth is widowed and in need of protection Her family are seen as traitors by the new Yorkist regime they are enemies of the crown So, what better way than to appear as if by random out of the woods, like a fairy tale princess, to gain the King s heart Elizabeth seduced the King, and he wasthan happy to oblige her, but she was clever enough to gain some surety before giving herself fully to him thus, she joins the house of York in a very well written opening to this book Elizabeth s story The marriage of Elizabeth and Edward IV began with passion and heat it ended with political upheaval I love the way Elizabeth has been written it is such a way that suggests that her actions could be driven by a mother s natural instinct to protect her children, and then at the same time suggests that she is merely plotting for her own power lust I, personally, think it was a little bit of both She feared Richard, but she also wanted to remain queen This was quite a pivotal moment for history because if the two had reconciled, then perhaps together they could have saved the white rose of York English history and society would be remarkably different But, that would never have happened Both factions of the house of York wanted the power and wanted to be rulers of England Elizabeth ensured her own security by keeping one of her boys out of Richard s, supposedly, dirty hands This young York boy appears later in theThe White Princessas Perkin Warbeck Indeed, Gregory leaves herself room for later scandal, lies and pure intrigue I love this series, and I love the way she has written her characters It s an interpretation that, historically, could be true and accurate But, at the same time, she never points any fingers She shows us how things have happened, but at the same time doesn t directly say who was responsible she suggests just enough that every character has equal blame I m, of course, referring to the murders of the princes in the tower In this, I feel that Gregory is completely impartial The Cousin s War Series 1 The White Queen A strong four stars2 The Red Queen A fair three stars3 The Lady of the Rivers A Margretless two stars Considering that I ve now read six of her books, it pains me to say that I might be getting over Phillipa Gregory Most of the reviews for The White Queen were good, and I expected to like it But for the most part, it was justmeh So, plot summary we ve moved back in time from the Sexy Sexy Tudors to the Sexy Sexy Plantagenets, but unfortunately these people do a lot less fucking and a lotplotting Also witchcraft, which was weird Reasons I Did Not Particularly Love This Book The main character, Elizabeth Woodville, apparently came from a family that actually claimed to be descended from the water goddess Melusina Okay, I can stand by that, but then Gregory takes it a step further several steps, actually and decides that not only do Elizabeth and her mother regularly perform spells that actually work, but they both have the Sight Capital S Gregory s pulled this trick before, with the vision having character in The Queen s Fool, but it wasn t a major plot point there, and ultimately didn t influence the story that much The supernatural element in this one borders on the ridiculous Elizabeth whistles in a storm to stop Henry Tudor from invading London I am not making this up, but Gregory is This is a prequel, so there s lots of foreshadowing to what s going to happen in the next books And it s very, very blatant foreshadowing Characters are always saying things like, Henry Tudor will never be king, none of the Tudors will and I trust Richard with my life, he s a great brother and I can just see Philippa Gregory winking from behind the page, singing I know what s gonna happen, I know what s gonna happen SO DO I, PHILIPPA Elizabeth Woodville is traditionally vilified, which seems like a good enough reason to write a book from her perspective, but even when she s telling the story she can t hide the fact that she s kind ofevil She manipulates people to serve her own agenda, is ruthless in securing the throne for her children even after Richard takes over and her kids just want to go home, and she also holds very creepy grudges against anyone who killed a member of her family Her dad and one of her brothers gets killed in battle, and from then on every single time she mentions the men responsible she s like, I m going to kill them They are dead men I m going to kill them so hard with magic and then I will make necklaces out of their spines and dance naked on their graves Tone it down, woman Every single man is named either Edward, Richard, George, or Henry A family tree is provided at the beginning of the book, but since it stops at Edward IV and his brothers, it s no help at all when it comes to tracking Elizabeth s ten million siblings and children Maybe I m moving beyond Philippa Gregory This makes me sad, mostly because it means I need to find a new series of trashy guilty pleasure books to read.